been called to a disciplinary hearing at the housing association where he has worked for 15 years.This is only the latest in a list of similar incidences. (I think I said last time, “a depressingly long list,” or was that about Canada? You'll forgive the confusion, I'm sure.) Where will it all end?
His bosses at the publicly funded Wakefield and District Housing (WDH) have demanded he remove the eight inch long cross made from woven palm leaves that sits on his dashboard.
The organisation claims the cross may cause offence but says it strongly promotes "inclusive" policies and allows employees to wear religious symbols at work. (Wear them, just not display them. My question is this: Had he pinned the palm cross in question to his shirt, would it have aroused the same sort of ire?)
Mr Atkinson, who is a regular worshipper at church, said: “I have worked in the coal mines and served in the Army in Northern Ireland and I have never suffered such stress. (Think about that for a moment: Coal mines ... you never know if this day on the job will be your last because of a coal mine. Northern Ireland ... I'm old enough to remember sometimes daily reports of what the IRA did to the British soldiers there (and vice versa, not to the IRA but to citizens). “... and I have never suffered such stress.”)
“The treatment of Christians in this country is becoming diabolical. It is political correctness taken to the extreme. (Both points are quite right.)
“I have never been so full of resolve. I am determined to stand up for my rights. If they sack me, so be it. But I am standing up for my faith.” (God bless him. Hey, Colin: They don't call it Lent for nothin', mate.)
Just so you can see, here is what a public enemy looks like in the UK (tongue, of course, planted firmly in cheek, as if it needs pointing out).